Ex-Isabela gov Padaca seeks dismissal of graft, malversation raps
MANILA — Former Isabela Governor Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca has informed the Sandiganbayan Third Division of her plan to seek the dismissal of her graft and malversation case for lack of evidence.
In a four-page motion for leave, Padaca expressed her intention to file her demurrer to the prosecution’s evidence, which she said was “grossly insufficient” to sustain the case.
The case arose from the 2006 award of P25 million to Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation, Inc. (EDWINLFI) to manage a credit facility for rice farmers. This allegedly came without public bidding.
But Padaca said a prosecution witness admitted that the loans went to the farmers and the foundation did not receive the amount, belying the malversation charge. This, she said, was further proven by receipts amounting to a thousand pieces of evidence.
She also argued that she could not be held liable as an “accountable officer” because she never held custody or received the funds.
“The only participation of accused Padaca was to enter into a memorandum of agreement with EDWINLFI pursuant to the authority granted by Sangguniang Panlalawigan under Resolution No. 061 series of 2005 and Resoluntion [sic] No. 09 series of 2006,” the motion read.
Padaca also argued that she cannot be convicted for violating Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, stressing that doing away with the public bidding requirement did not violate the Government Procurement Reform Act.
She said the procurement law allowed the provincial government to forego public bidding because the appropriation ordinance specifically contracted out the project to a non-government organization.
“All of the actions of accused Padaca were in accordance with the resolutions of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,” she said. SFM/rga
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